Throughout this entire election season, we have been hearing how John McCain being a maverick in the Senate and doing things his way. I want to introduce you to someone whom you may already know. He is the real maverick in the Senate. He is our junior Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn.
Tom Coburn first entered politics in 1994 when he ran for and won the 2nd Congressional District seat from Oklahoma. From the start, he earned his maverick reputation by frequently battling Newt Gingrich, who was then Speaker of the House. When he ran, he said he would limit himself to three terms in office and he kept his promise, leaving office after his third term expired in 2000.
In 2004, Coburn chose to run against the Republican establishment candidate for the Senate seat of our retiring Senator, Don Nickles. He easily won the seat and again, he earned his reputation as a maverick by continually challenging and putting on hold, Senate bills that he deemed to be too expensive or full of earmarks for special projects. One of those was the famous “Bridge to nowhere” fight with Alaska’s Senator, Ted Stephens. Instead of spending $223 million dollars to build the bridge in Alaska, he wanted to use the money to repair a New Orleans bridge that had been damaged in Hurricane Katrina. Imagine that, a Senator who wants to do something useful for a change.
Coburn has said that he will serve, at the most, only one more term in the Senate, before returning to his medical practice in Muskogee, Oklahoma full time. I understand his decision, but I will regret seeing him leave. Our state and the American people will have lost an important advocate in the Senate.
On July 26, 2008, Tom Coburn gave a speech on the floor of the Senate and in it, he made a very strong case in favor of the Senate setting it’s priorities straight and fixing the problems that are facing the citizens of this country. It’s too bad we don’t have more Senators like him, willing to put America and it’s citizens before their own political careers.
Congress Must Put America’s Priorities First–Part 1
Congress Must Put America’s Priorities First–Part 2
That’s my take!